Leisure Investment Keeping People Healthy and Well
More people across South Tyneside are making health and fitness a main priority as South Tyneside Council leisure memberships hit an all-time high.
Over the past decade, the number of people signing up for a membership has continued to grow steadily in line with major investment in new and improved facilities, rising from 414 memberships to more than 9,000 since the Council launched its flagship £16 million swimming pool and leisure complex Haven Point in October 2013.
Haven Point was followed by the Borough's £13 million Hebburn Central development and a £3 million transformation of Jarrow Community Centre to create Jarrow Focus.
Monkton Stadium is the latest leisure facility in the Council's portfolio to benefit from investment with the opening of its refurbished 'green gym' this summer. The facility helps to reduce energy consumption by converting user movement into electricity. A new sauna and changing rooms were included in the £700,000 revamp.
And now work is nearly completed on upgrading the stadium floodlights, including the replacement of the six existing lighting columns and the installation of an additional two.
Councillor Audrey Huntley, Deputy Leader of South Tyneside Council with responsibility for Culture, Leisure and the Visitor Economy, said: "Physical activity is great for the body and mind and we are delighted that more and more people are choosing to use our leisure centres to keep fit and well. The popularity of the centres has exceeded all of our expectations.
"We have invested millions of pounds in our leisure facilities to help improve the experience for our leisure users and provide them with the best service possible."
Other improvements over recent years have included the introduction of an online booking system in December 2020 as leisure centres reopened during the covid pandemic.
A new leisure services mobile app introduced in November last year gives leisure members 24/7 access to a host of features enabling them to manage their workouts effectively. This includes easy to access timetables and session availability as well as the ability to make bookings, cancel sessions and set up alerts and notifications.
The app has been downloaded over 11,500 times and saw more than 58,000 bookings made within the first three months alone. Now 88 per cent of bookings are made though the app.
The new digital system, which also included the installation of self-serve kiosks and electronic check-in facilities, gives leisure centre members and discount card holders more control of their fitness.
As well as swimming pools and gym spaces, the Council provides more than 230 fitness classes across a wide range of disciplines, including both instructor-led and virtual sessions, across its centres.
Councillor Huntley added: "As well as presenting challenges for everybody, the covid pandemic opened opportunities to adapt services to meet the needs of leisure users.
"By providing wonderfully modern accessible facilities, the latest equipment and technology and a wide range of leisure services for all ages and abilities, we're supporting our residents to lead healthy and active lifestyles."
Further information about leisure centres, facilities and memberships, is available on the Council's website at www.southtyneside.gov.uk/leisure